Your life… your chase.




I saw my life flash before my eyes last night. It was a chilling ordeal.

As best I can tell, it wasn’t a near-death experience.  The white light that I saw was only a split second flash between commercials.

I was reading the newspaper, not paying attention, when I heard it…

Ba-da-da-da-da Da-da-da-da-da.   

Sentimental sounding notes were taking me somewhere. This song had words. Muffled words. I couldn’t understand them. Didn’t need to. We’re not supposed to. They aren’t important. The music was setting the tone.

A smooth voice said --

The road of life takes many turns…

I looked up to see what appeared to be a date… at a drive in.  I was a little confused, not sure where or when in time I had landed, but, I followed along.

Ba-da-da-da-da. Da-da-da-da-da.

This music was melodious, snake-charmerish even. I watched as…A young man and woman face each other. Their eyes lock. A laptop flashes on screen for a split second, then is gone. An Amazon.com credit card appears over one corner of the screen.

Quickly we’re in a different place. Tuxedos.White gown. It’s a wedding. Smiles turn into grins. Joy. Happiness. 

Why the laptop I wonder? Did we just register on Amazon’s wish list?

Before I can process it, we’re transported. He’s carrying her… over a threshold, the Eiffel Tower is visible in the background.

We’re on a honeymoon.

A life-together begins.

And apparently, so does your credit report -- a wallet covers one corner of this blissful portrait and an airline credit card slips into a slot below the dot-com card.  I think, too bad, the airline’s probably bankrupt and your miles will dissolve as fast as this vignette...  But, wait…

Ba-da-da-da-da. Da-da-da-da.

Arms, still carrying someone, deposit a sleeping child in bed. The camera pulls back to show – our couple, gazing at their offspring. They’re home, it’s years later. The woman rubs a swollen belly. Another’s on the way…

Superimpose another credit card. Mouse ears now. Of course.

This card too slips into the wallet with the others.

Then, flip, flip, flip… photographs in this wallet… turn, one after the other. We assume, as they go, so do the years. Their life, this fairytale, whirs past right before our eyes.

Finally, the last photo flips and we freeze on our couple, many years older -- their grins frozen on heads haloed now with grey – still smiling, still together. There’s no voiceover, no explanation. We didn’t actually hear the marital melody, the cacophony of years of bliss, so we assume ever hopeful that it’s been a happy-happy-joy-joy ride.

But, our now familiar couple is somehow oddly different, too. It doesn’t make visual sense. They’re not just older – they’re completely dissimilar. I study the woman’s face anyway, her grin, her tilted head leaning toward her man and think…

Good God, Nice ‘n Easy only costs about six bucks. Grecian Formula for him, even less. Put it on your Visa, for goodness sake. Didn’t you get the memo? The email? Check your spam filter. It was all over morning television too. Boomers have declared fifty the new thirty. Pay attention.

Quickly, another card slides into place -- an AARP card!

Flash to Grandpa fishing with the grandkids. Did he need credit for that too?

Hold on…

Love. Marriage. Babies. Retirement. Grandchildren?  At fifty? Some women are just getting around to giving birth to their first in their forties. Moreover, who can afford to retire at fifty these days? Most people are still trying to figure out their third or fourth career. AARP really needs to raise that grey ceiling and rethink their demographic.

Life. Done. Complete. All in thirty seconds?

Ba-da-da-da-da. Da-da-da-da.

Dissolve to two rows of credit cards each themed with a different life-stage for your consuming pleasure carefully tucked into this wallet.

The wallet closes. The Chase Manhattan logo appears. A calm voice reminds us… Your life… your chase.  

And, we fade out… 

Are they kidding?

Today, as we race to acquire more, faster -- Your life…Your chase – is quite the mixed message. Did the focus group really buy this? Were they so charmed by the music that tears slid down their cheeks as they signed on the dotted line, and wept, “Yes. Yes. I get it. It’s all good. It works. It’s me. It’s my life. My chase. My Bank. Can I have one?”

So, what’s next, a coffins ‘r us card? Finance the funeral on plastic.

Hey, it’s your life… your chase. 

Your death.  Your kid’s debt?

What are we chasing?

Don’t know? Don’t care? Don’t worry. Chase Manhattan will show you the way for an additional 19.99%.

Your life. Their fees. Your chase.

Go for it.

But, take it from me baby, they got one thing right… it does fly by.